NJC Dismisses Petitions Against Justice Odili, 25 Others

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has rejected complaints brought against retired Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili and 25 other judicial officials nationwide.

Soji Oye, the NJC’s director of information, confirmed the news in a statement released on Friday in Abuja.

According to him, the petitions against the judges were rejected by the council during a meeting presided over by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

The petitioners claimed that the judges had engaged in professional misconduct while performing their duties.

According to the spokesman, the NJC decided not to investigate Justice Odili because she had left the bench and 25 other petitions had been denied for various reasons, including lack of merit, carelessness in the prosecution, and withdrawal.

However, seven state High Court judges indicted by the NJC’s investigation committee will face probe panels to determine the level of their culpability.

Other judges cleared by the council are Justices A. R. Barka, James G. Abundaga, O. O. Olasumbo Goodluck, and Ibrahim Andetur-Yangsto all of the Court of Appeal.

Others are Justices F. O. Liman, A. R. Mohammed, H. A. A. Dashen, Peter Lifu, F. O. G. Ogunbanjo, A. Lewis Allagoa, and D. E. Osiagor, who were from the Federal High Court.

Others are Justices Theresa O. Diai, Chief Judge, Delta, S. B. Belgore, K. N. Ogbonnaya Jude Onwuegbuzie, and Edward Okpe of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

Also cleared are Justices Joseph I. Acha and Vesty O. Eboreime, both of High Court, Edo, Thelma Achom and Elvis A. Ngene of the Ebonyi State High Court, A. B. Usman and M. M. Abubakar of Bauchi State High Court, O. A. Opesanwo of the Lagos State High Court and Oladiran Akintola of Oyo State High Court,

The rest are Justices Gegele A. Hammed of Kwara High Court, K. N. Udobong of Akwa-Ibom High Court, B. C. Iheka, Imo High Court, M. A. Zandai High Court, Borno, Mohammed Shinkafi of Zamfara High Court, R. S. Ladoja of the Kaduna State High Court and M. S. A. Mohammed of the High Court of Niger.

The statement read: “At the meeting, the NJC came up with a policy barring judicial officers from switching henceforth from the High Court of Justice to the Customary Court of Appeal and vice versa.

“The only exception allowed is when a new Customary Court of Appeal is established in a State and Judges who indicated interest to go to the Customary Court of Appeal will be allowed to proceed.

Under the new policy, once established, the candidates for the headship of the Court must be drawn from that Court only, even if all the Judges of the Court are juniors to their counterparts in other Courts.

“The Council recommended 37 judicial officers for appointment to the President and seven Governors as Justices of the Court of Appeal, Heads of Court and Judges of the High Court and Customary Courts of Appeal.”